This Christmas step into a magical world full of wonders, wizards and mystical creations and visit the Harry Potter Studios, not far from the big city of London!
Let me tell you about my absolute highlight during my previous trip to London! A truly remarkable experience for everyone who has become a part of the world of Harry Potter, from the first book to the last movie released. And I assume there must be a lot of you!
Ever since the Harry Potter movies came out it was my biggest wish to visit the filming studios one day myself and that wish came true on my last trip to London, during the most enchanting time of the year.
Christmas in London is truly a highlight and I can only recommend to visit the British capital around the holiday season. It becomes a Wonderland full of sparkling Christmas lights, delicious food and mulled wine and very cute decorated Christmas markets everywhere you go in London.
So it was an absolutely must not only to see the Buckingham Palace but also to pay a visit to Hogwarts and the Harry Potter Studios, also known as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
This post will give you a deep inside into the studio tour, what to see and what to expect, how much time you should plan for your visit, useful tips to know before you go, how to get to the studios and much more!
So everyone grab their wands and practice your spells, it is time for some magic!
Welcome to the world of Harry Potter and the Warner Bros. Studios
Know before you go!
You have to book your tickets online in advance and safe your spot for the tour. If you just show up you will most likely be send away so don´t take the risk. If you plan to visit London at special times like Christmas or Halloween make sure to book your tickets at least two to three months before you go. They sell out very quickly. After booking your tickets print out the confirmation and take it with you, as you have to show a printed copy at the entrance.
Plan enough time
The Harry Potter Studios are located outside of London, so depending if you take your own car or public transportation it will take at least 45 Minutes to reach.
The studio tour itself takes three to four hours.
Phones, cameras and memory space
You are allowed to take as many pictures as your memory space can hold! With that being said be ready to take more pictures within the next three to four hours during the tour than you will ever do again. Be prepared and take a fully charged power bank with you, there is nothing worse than having a flat battery during the tour. Check how much memory you have available. Me for example, I took around 360! pictures during the tour and that is a lot! Also put your phone in flight mode and turn off your WiFi, so you do not get distracted and can fully enjoy the tour. In addition I would also recommend to take a separate camera with you, just in case.
Getting to the Harry Potter Studios
The most easy way to reach the Harry Potter studios from London is by taking the train from Euston station to Watford Junction which takes around 20 minutes.
Outside the station signs will guide you to the shuttle bus, your very own „Knight Bus“, that will take you directly to the entrance of the studios. On the bus you will see a short video with the Harry Potter cast that will welcome you to the studio tour with important information and will get you excited for what´s about to come! After the bus drops you off at the studio you can go straight to the ticket point to collect your tickets.
Before the tour
Now it is getting more and more exciting!
After collecting your tickets you have to pass a security check. Do not bring big bags with you, it will be frustrating for the security and other people waiting behind. You can leave bags and jackets at the wardrobe for free. However I recommend you to take your jacket in winter with you because a part of the studio tour will be in an outside area.
The magical world is coming closer!
Follow the music into the world of Harry Potter and the Marauder´s Map through a long hallway that will lead you to the starting point of the tour and to the first set where it all began.
The room under the staircase!
The staff will guide you in groups into a cinema room where the actors of the movies will welcome you again to the studios and will reflect their time working on the set. After the movie the curtain falls and a huge, very familiar big wing door appears that is not only the entrance to the studios but also where the biggest set awaits behind!
Welcome to Hogwarts and to the Great Hall
It took my breath away after walking through the big door into the Great Hall, the biggest Harry Potter set! In December the hall is beautiful set up for Christmas and the yule ball, with many festive decorated Christmas trees, little witches flying around the trees and delicious food on the long tables. I wonder how much of the food in the movies was real? The Christmas pudding in flames looks so delicious, it is hard to believe that all this food is not real.
The orchestra instruments are build up on stage in front of the biggest snow glistening Christmas trees and longest icicles you will ever see.
After 15 minutes it is time to leave the Great Hall and to move on to the next sets. From here you are not bounded to the group anymore and can enjoy walking through the studios, taking your time as much as you want.
The Harry Potter Studio tour continues
From here everywhere you look you will see parts of sets, costumes and requisites that you will immediately recognize from the movies they where in. Pretty much all the costumes of the characters are set up, requisites like the moving staircase of Hogwarts, the Mirror of Erised, the deathly hallows, the Goblet of Fire and the entrance to Dumbledore´s office with the golden phoenix. Even the flying car which Harry and Ron took in the second movie to fly to Hogwarts is set up. Those and hundreds more.
After one hour I have taken more pictures than in a whole year. And the tour has just began.
The Gryffindor common room, Hagrid´s cottage, Snapes classroom or the house of the Burrow from the Weasley family are just a few sets to mention. My favorite set so far was Dumbledore´s office, with every detail and the speaking hat watching the muggles from the shelve.
Get yourself on a broomstick and be a Quidditch champion
When muggles wanna fly on a broom you can expect the line of waiting people to be long. However it is so much fun and worth it and the video a great memory of your visit to the Harry Potter studios. In the Quidditch area the studio team will show you how the scenes of the flying brooms with the actors were filmed in front of a green screen and they will also help you to make the best impression on your first flight!
Be ready to step into the Forbidden Forest
The part of the tour I wished Hagrid would be there… The Forbidden Forest was of course dark and haunted and with many creatures no one wants to meet. Except one and that was Buckbeak!
Still I was relieved after we came out again back into the light.
The Hogwarts Express
From the dark forest we stepped out to the next set and right on to platform 9 ¾. And if you have not been absolutely taken away from all the magic around, you sure are right now! Seeing the big Hogwarts Express and listening to the well known theme music of the movies will make you feel sentimentally happy and sad at the same time. Over here the journey started for Harry but also came to an end with the last take of the last movie. So many times Hogwarts students went through the wall to the most famous platform and now it is even possible for us ordinary muggles. Almost, at least for a great memory picture. 🙂 At the railway shop you can even buy Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans as well as jumping chocolate frogs.
After around two and a half hours at the Harry Potter studios it was time for a break. The coffee shop and restaurant serves delicious snacks as well as Butterbeer, some kind of lemonade with cream on top. Yummyyy!!!
Remember the advise to check your memory and battery before the tour?
The funny part is that you can see everyone sitting down and checking their memory space, sorting out pictures and data for more space, because the studio tour is not even close to an end and much more highlights are about to come!
After the break the tour continues to an outside area with the Knight Bus and the house of the Dursley family. And of course it is Christmas time, so let it snow!
Back inside you come to the art and special effect department where all the different computer animations are shown. Goblins, dragons, the monster book and the mandrakes as well as Fox and the basilisk. And of course there is Dobby, the most loved house elf in the whole Harry Potter universe.
Have you done all your magical Christmas shopping yet?
Now it is time to get your school books, wands and owls and flying brooms ready for your new year in Hogwarts. Welcome to the Diagon Alley and to Gringotts!
The new Gringotts studio attraction just opened this year.
A highlight in the Diagon Alley is Weasleys´Wizard Wheezes Shop.
A moment to remember
The tour is slowly coming to an end. But not before one last highlight will make you gasp and maybe will bring tears to your eyes.
The view of the Hogwarts castle fully covered in snow! A huge model that was used to film the outside of the castle in the movies. A walkway will lead you all around Hogwarts, with all its details, towers and snowy hills.
It feels sad to leave this place behind and to return back to the normal life.
Coming back into the “normal” life
A memory and thank you to all the people being involved in the movies of Harry Potter that last over a century.
In memory of the actors, producers, writers and everyone involved in the movie world of Harry Potter the studios set up Mr Ollivander´s wand shop with a wand for every person. In total more than 4000 wands with a lot of familiar names like J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson, Ralph Finnes, Alan Rickman and everyone else!
Thanks to J.K. Rowling and to all the people who have created this enchanting world and to the Warner Bros. Studios for giving muggles like us the opportunity and experience to step into the world of Harry Potter!
I really hope this post gave you a special inside to the Harry Potter studio tour. I would love to hear your own experience if you have visited the tour already or if you plan to visit London and the studios soon.
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